Baby Care - Newborn Baby Out in Public - Wait and Protect Your Infant Baby From Illness

Many new parents have misconceptions of when they can safely take their newborn infant out in public. It is a commonly held belief that once the infant has received their first set of shots that they are protected and can go out in public. Unfortunately, this is not true.

Infants are born with an immune system that is inexperienced to illness. Their system relies on immunity from their mother for the first 4-6 months of life but only if the infant was born after 36-37 weeks. This kind of immunity is called "passive placental immunity" and helps the infant to only fight illness that the mother has developed immunity to such as a recent cold or chicken pox. Infants that are breast fed receive additional immunity from their mother's milk that continues as long as breast feeding is continued. Even in a perfect world, an infant can become sick from being exposed to someone who is ill. A bad cold for an adult or young child is a bad cold...but this could result in a serious infection for an infant that requires hospitalization.

Infants receive their first set of vaccines at age 2 months. The severe diseases they are immunized against include diptheria, pertussis, tetanus, haemophyllis influenza B, pneumococcus, polio, hepatitis B and rotovirus. These are only some of the illness that infants can contract but are among the most severe. Other illnesses, both bacterial and viral, can cause several illness in infants. One example is bronchiolitis that is caused by a respiratory virus that attacks the lower respiratory tract in infants causing severe asthma-like symptoms. Hospitalization may be required to help the infant breathe properly and to get enough oxygen. So having immunizations is not the answer to keeping your infant completely healthy.

Protecting your infant from illness should be a high priority for new parents. Here are several tips for preventing illness:

* limit visitors & only to those that are not sick
* prevent children from touching the baby & definitely do not allow them near the baby if they are coughing or sneezing
* do not allow too many people to hold the baby
* do not take your infant out in public places where there could be a lot of people
* it is ok to take your baby for a car ride or out in the stroller for a walk
* wash your hands with antibacterial soap & ask visitors to do the same
* breastfeed your baby to provide them with passive immunity
* if you have another child who is sick, ask family members to take them for you or isolate mother and baby in the bedroom and have dad take care of the sick child

Do not be persuaded by assertive relatives and friends to be near your infant if they are sick. Remember, you are the ones that will have to deal with a sick baby and possible hospitalization.